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Elsewhere (218)

Friday Ephemera

Are you bregant or pergert? // “Have you got clouds stuck in your tongue?” // Conveyor belts. // Grim London. // Tiny, swarming robots. // Robots make tiny springs. // Sad chairs of academia. // When your problems multiply. // Mardi Gras Indians. Not known for toning it down. // African visitors to the Tower of London, 1949. // In search of Steve Ditko. // A six-year-old’s drawings brought to life. // Made with old newspaper. (h/t, Julia) // 10,000 things of possible interest. From the tree goats of Morocco to the Icelandic witchcraft museum. // How to bake Icelandic volcano bread. // Earliest known depiction of improper broom use. // Don’t look now but there’s something under the porch. // And finally, via Jen, and as it’s almost Hallowe’en, The Thing With Two Heads, 1972.



Robots make tiny springs.

Years ago I knew the president of a spring machine business. Spring machines are usually vertical steel plates on which are installed the number of actuators needed to make the wire part.

Springs are straight wire pushed against various tools that then deflect into the coils, crooks, and shapes you see in the clip. Machines can run continuously, collecting the springs that fall off below. One of those things you never think about until you see it work and then you can't stop watching.


Old Teddies!

"My wife spent the night in hospital a while ago and when I got home from visiting her, I found she'd left Ted in the bed to keep me company until she got home. Ted and I are both 55 years old."

Captain Nemo

Sad chairs of academia.

I like "Back-aching sadness at the Royal Geographic Society", although it's quite ambivalent in its title and subject matter. To which chair is it referring - the charming Edwardian cane-back club chair, or the tatty, broken 1960s thing?


The thing with two heads

Saw it when it came out because Ray Milland was in it. Course, nobody remembers him now, mumble, grumble, damn kids get off my lawn! Etc.


Tiny, swarming robots

I want them in yellow... they certainly behave like minions.


Are you bregant or pergert?

Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had diahre, dyrea, direathe, the shits.


Winner from Hal's link:

16. Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

Rob Anzac

Also from Hal's link:
12. Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.
Sound advice, wouldn't want to be without good boots in that situation.


Noted historical romances as cataloged by George R. R. Martin:

And you and I have become the stuff of legends, Tuf, the most celebrated lovers since, oh, puling hell, since all those famous romantic couples from ancient times—you know, Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Marx and Lenin.
Spiny Norman

Goat trees? Goat tower.

(It was a meme on 4Chan's /b/ board a few years ago, for some ungodly reason.)


It was a meme on 4Chan's /b/ board a few years ago . . .

Hmmm. How much did 4Chan have to do with goatse?

---I know of 4Chan, but ability in Googlemancy just pulls up bits of data, not comprehension of entire streams . . .

Patrick Brown

My mum was a primary school teacher, and she swore she once got a letter from a child's mother explaining he wasn't in school yesterday because he had "a wee touch of cancer".


Are you bregant or pergert?

That one's going round the office.


Saw it when it came out because Ray Milland was in it. Course, nobody remembers him now, mumble, grumble…

I still have lurid childhood memories of that other Ray Milland outing, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Which can be savoured here.


"Are you bregant or pergert?"

I've always been partial to "up the duff"....


When your problems multiply.

Sounds like a sting to me. I wonder if anybody was stupid enough to go to the Sheriff's office with his stash of meth to get it tested.

Captain Nemo

When your problems multiply.

Heh. Reminds me of the following; Apparently, drug usage among lepidoptera is on the increase. Police are blaming the rise on crystal moth.


Japanese wood shavings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxvOMHoLRBY&feature=share

Fred the Fourth

Robots make tiny springs.

I love stuff like this. I'm an ancient software engineer by trade, but my first real boss was a Mech E. I used to joke with him that the perfect machine would have no moving parts (I first read that in RAH's Orphans Of The Sky) but eventually I grew up.

There's a lot of disdain for stuff these days. Many people have no appreciation for the masses of little things that make their lives possible, and their luxuries affordable. Nor do they understand the breadth and depth of the mechanical tech involved.

A fun game is to ask someone to guess the number of parts in some common device, say, a microwave oven or a table lamp. A typical answer, even among supposed adults, is too low by one or two orders of magnitude. (My favorite example, is a small metal hinged-lid wastebasket I own, sold by a company called "Simple Human". The damn thing has 55 parts. So "Simple".)

Fred the Fourth

Addendum: The Canadian TV series "How It's Made" should be mandatory viewing in schools. Also, Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs".

Fred the Fourth

Just to entertain myself (at your expense) here's the table lamp on my desk right now:
A molded plug: two prongs, two swage clips, one spacer, and the plastic outer cover: 6 parts
The wire: two wires, each consisting of six strands twisted together, plus the plastic cover: 13 parts, or 3 parts, depending on how you count.
The stand: 1 felt pad with a glue layer. The base, shaft, and top, plus 2 connectors. The threaded rod inside, plus 2 nuts and 2 washers. 11 parts.
Decorative upper stand: base ring, tube, top ring. 3 parts
Lamp holder: bracket, 2 clamps each with setscrew, 2 frames each with 2 rivets, 2 plastic moldings, 2 lamp screw bases each with 2 grommets to attach wires. 19 parts.
Lampshade holder: threaded tube, brass top: 2 parts
Lampshade: top "Y" ring (5 parts), upper and lower brace rings, base material sheet, cover fabric. 9 parts counting the fabric as 1 part.
Finial:1 part
Total: 64 parts
2 Bulbs (at least 25 parts each because they are 12 LED assemblies with electronics.) 50 parts
Grand total: 114 parts.
Not counting the various coatings and glues. Not counting the interior parts of the LEDs themselves, at least 5 each, which alone would be another 60 parts. Not counting the interior parts of the IC on the bulb electronics, which could easily have another couple dozen parts.
Oops, I missed one: the base strain relief.

115 parts. Counting very conservatively. Being picky I could probably get to 200 parts before even considering the IC itself as an assembly.

Just for a desk lamp.


The Canadian TV series "How It's Made" should be mandatory viewing in schools. Also, Mike Rowe's "Dirty Jobs".

Definitely agree. "Dirty Jobs" certainly puts the lie to the notion that there are some jobs that Americans won't do.

R. Sherman

She was also holding a beer.

R. Sherman

Just for a desk lamp.

And how much did it cost you? How many families were supported by its manufacture?

But remember, capitalism sucks.

The Hickory Wind

@Fred the Fourth

Put that in narrative form and you have an updated I, pencil. It still will not persuade, or even be understood by, anyone who doesn't already know it.

Fred the Fourth

Have you read Bill Whittle's essay comparing a 7-11 store to the Great Pyramid?

Fred the Fourth

Bill's essay:

Fred the Fourth

OK, sigh. I can't get href to accept the archive's url format. Google for "bill whittle 7-11 vs pyramid" and you'll get there

Fred the Fourth

"I, Pencil" is good. I also recommend "The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance" by Henry Petroski, and his "To Engineer is Human" mostly about failure as a part of engineering. Might as well toss in "The Design of Everyday Things" (previously "The Psychology of Everyday Things" aka POET) by Don Norman. And anything by Ed Tufte, though he does tend to annoy some folks.
And Fenynman's essay on Cargo Cult Science.
And [quiet sounds of gentle strangulation followed by thumpings as author is dragged back to the kitchen to finish the Black Pepper Chicken.]

Farnsworth M. Muldoon

Bill Whittle's Wonders Of The Modern World 7-11vs.Pyramid.


Fred The Fourth (I have an urge to also add, "Lord of the Known Universe" or similar but let that pass),

Looking through your list just one of many notions entered awareness with "The wire: two wires, each consisting of six strands twisted together, plus the plastic cover: 13 parts, or 3 parts, depending on how you count.".

There'd also be a not insignificant mining industry, smelting industry, merchant shipping, docks, cranes, rail transport etc industry to go with it....

That's just for the wires....

As for the plastic bit........ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA09MSOUXKc


The game Factorio is good for those who like "Pencil making".


. . . the Black Pepper Chicken.

. . . . Oh, come on now, you're not getting off that easily, how how many parts for that?

Steak Cassiel

Brownies and Tea


The Sten Cookbook

"What the clot is Angelo stew?"

"You don't need to know. Wouldn't eat it if you did. Cures cancer...oh, we cured that before, didn't we...Anyway...Angelo stew's the ticket. Only thing I know will unfreeze our buttocks."

Sten watched as the Emperor worked. From what Sten could gather, the first act of what was to be Angelo stew consisted of thinly sliced chorizo - Mexican hard sausage, the Emperor explained. The sausage and a heaping handful of garlic were sautéed in Thai-pepper-marinated olive oil. Deliciously hot-spiced smells from the pan cut right through the Stregg fumes in Sten's nostrils.

The Emperor stopped his work and took a sip of Stregg. Smiled to himself, and tipped a small splash in with the chorizo. Then he went back to the task at hand, quartering four or five onions and seeding quarter slices of tomatoes.

He turned and pulled a half-kilo slab of bleeding red beef from a storage cooler and began chunking it up.

The Emperor shut off the flame under the sausage and garlic, started another pan going with more spiced oil, and tossed in a little sage, a little savory and thyme, and then palm-rolled some rosemary twigs and dropped those in on top. He stirred the mixture, considered a moment, then heaped in the tomato quarters and glazed them. He shut off the fire and turned back to Sten. He gave the young captain a long, thoughtful look and then began rolling the small chunks of beef into flour first, and then into a bowl of hot-pepper seeds.

He paused to turn the flame up under the sausage and garlic, then added the pepper-rolled beef as soon as the pan was hot enough. He stirred the beef around, waiting until it got a nice brown crust.

The Emperor finished the beef. He pulled out a large iron pan and dumped the whole mess into it. He also added the panful of onions and tomatoes. Then he threw in a palmful of superhot red peppers, a glug or three of rough red wine, many glugs of beef stock, a big clump of cilantro, clanked down the lid, and set the flame to high. As soon as it came to a boil, he would turn it down to simmer for a while.

* * * * *

The stew was done now. The Emperor rose and ladled out two brimming bowlsful. Sten's mouth burst with saliva. He could smell a whole forest of cilantro. His eyes watered as the Emperor set the bowl in front of him. He waited as the man cut two enormous slices of fresh-baked sourdough bread and plunked them down along with a tub of newly churned white butter.

The Emperor spooned up a large portion of stew.

"Eat up, son. This stuff is great brain food. First your ears go on fire, then the gray stuff. Last one done's a grand admiral."

Sten swallowed. The Angelo stew savored his tongue, and gobbled down his throat to his stomach. A small nuclear flame bloomed, and his eyes teared and his nose wept and his ears turned bright red. The Stregg in his bloodstream fled before a horde of red-pepper molecules.

"Whaddya think?" the Eternal Emperor said.

"What if you don't have cancer?" Sten gasped.

"Keep eating, boy. If you don't have it now, you will soon."

Tim Newman

I think what everyone is saying on this thread is that engineers, particularly mechanical engineers, are modern day heroes. And possibly should be paid more and afforded the attention of a phalanx of buxom blondes who feed them grapes.

I fully agree.


"afforded the attention of a phalanx of buxom blondes"

Yeah, but what if you could have a talking frog instead?


John Brady

I see that Janice Fiamengo is facing an inquiry for a "human rights violation" following an accusation from a former student.

A fundraiser has been created at https://gogetfunding.com/legal-fund-for-janice-fiamengos-human-rights-tribunal/ in case anyone wants to contribute.


I see that Janice Fiamengo is facing an inquiry for a “human rights violation” following an accusation from a former student.

The “social justice tribunal” seems designed to enable acts of protracted spite by blue-haired “social justice” zealots. Which, based on a video that’s since been removed, is apparently what’s happening to Dr Fiamengo.

The Hickory Wind

Fred the Fourth

Thanks for the Bill Whittle link. You have probably just wasted my entire afternoon, but thanks anyway.

Hopp Singg

More grist:


The very definition of Swedish is changing, the ad continues, adding that the old Swedes need to adapt to the new country and the customs of the "new Swedes." “To be Swedish must be more than skin color and place of birth, it must be you, me, and everyone together,” the narrator continues. “It's not only new Swedes that need to integrate. Everyone needs to integrate, even established Swedes.”


What's scary is that these mouthbreathers may be casting a vote by 11/8.

Fred the Fourth

jones: My father (who was called, oddly enough, Fred the Third) used to preface dinner-table remarks with "When I am Emperor..."
but in reality the closest any of us got to the Imperial Purple was when an older ancestor was briefly given a grace-and-favor apartment at Windsor in exchange for being more English than the typical Brit.


It’s time to realize the new Swedes will claim their space, and will take up room with cultures, languages and customs,

If they are importing their "cultures, languages and customs" then they aren't new "swedes" at all.

The self-hating of Swedes to give up their OWN culture isn't unexpected; this is the endgame of Leftism.


Fred the Fourth, can we assume that your grandfather was called, evenly enough, Fred the Second?

J.M. Heinrichs

Fred the Second?
Better "Fred Nulli Secundus" ...



Fred The Fourth, did the very first one know he was going to set a trend and call himself "Fred The First"?

That would imply a rather legacy minded gentleman indeed.

Fred the Fourth

There was no "Fred the Second". The corresponding individual was, of course, called "Jack".


Dump Trump protesters bounce their boobies to protest objectification of women...or something. They're feminists, you see...or something. Anyway, nice excuse to look at boobies, if that's your thing. Some of you can thank me later.


Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Are these saggy feminist boobies? That's not much better than the thought of looking at Chuck Schumer's moobs.


If you like obscure museums, or typewriters, or enthusiasm, read this thread: https://twitter.com/mwichary/status/791709895083102209


Are these saggy feminist boobies
No, Ted, noooo.....do your (presumed heterosexual) self a favor and take a peek. Nice, young perky 20-somethings. They even got me to consider Bernie Sanders for a few minutes. Or going to a Trump rally. Maybe set up a trampoline there...


I note their chant is "Fuck Donald Trump". Presumably he'd like the young ladies to form a queue to oblige them...

Fred the Fourth

"take a peek"
Hmm. Did that.
Advantage of being my age - when I was twenty I'd have found that interesting, nay, possibly even thrilling. When I was 45 I'd have ignored that as "Meh, nothing I ain't seen a million times before, attached to a bunch of nuts I'm better off staying away from". Now, it's "Hey look, free boobies! Cute!"


Fred, I'm guessing we're the same age. That being "not dead yet".

Jeff Wood

Somewhere on the internets, there is a site called something like "Babes for Trump". Most of the lassies there are pretty classy.


"Hey look, free boobies! Cute!"

***Klaxon Sounds*** Future political career aborted! ***Klaxon Sounds***

Phil B

Regarding witches and broomsticks. It is considered that the witches "flew" by using psychotropic drugs such as "magic mushrooms" and other stuff but applied it by dipping the end of a broomstick in the goopand inserting it into their "ladies front bottom". Their trips were described as flying or astral travel. Yep - I'm a font of obscure knowledge.

And for those of a scatological bent, then this might amuse:


it isn't a one off event either - scroll past the Questions and answers for the ... errr .. FULL effect:



***Klaxon Sounds*** Future political career aborted! ***Klaxon Sounds***

In many cases, that can be a form of insurance.

. . . . barring the occasions when those voting then announce Screw That, you're getting elected anyway!!!!

Some people have complained, or tried to complain, that Obama got elected that way . . . .

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

When fan initiatives go wrong


Things that look like Hitler. Not sure if this is the source.
Pareidolia - Is it Movember yet?


"Academic freedom is great: as long as you don't use it."

Oh...here's a choice bit from the 12-person lynch mob Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group on the heretic professor who dared to question safe spaces, trigger warnings, et al

“We seek to create a dynamic community that values full participation. Such efforts are not the ‘destruction of academic integrity’ Professor Rectenwald suggests, but rather what make possible our program’s approach to global studies."


And this from the same committee

“As long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas,”

He's guilty! Guilty! Guilty!


The Left's Culture of Death will brook no dissent.

Fred the Fourth

"Hey look, free boobies! Cute!"

***Klaxon Sounds*** Future political career aborted! ***Klaxon Sounds***

Piper, my political career came and went about [mumble] years ago when my cohort and I engineered a takeover of our Explorer Scouts troop. It wasn't all that much fun, in the event.
Later, at UC Berkeley, I was approached by a student government "senator" who thought he needed a technical consultant, and would I be interested? It had taken me all of 20 seconds listening to him to decide to keep plenty of distance between us, and far away from anyone else who talked like that.
Now, office politics (also known as applied psychology) on the other hand, I learned to use and value after a few years working. I even "published" papers on the subject for new-hires in engineering at (large tech firm). But you don't have to be elected to anything for that.
I suppose I should add that I read Twain's story of running for governor (IIRC) when I was 13. Forewarned is forearmed.

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